City of Kimberley open house

A look at the first of three projects; the waste water treatment plant

The City of Kimberley hosted an open house on Tuesday, June 27, to provide information on three major city initiatives; the new Wastewater Treatment Facility; the Official Community Plan update; and the Draft Downtown strategy.

Mayor Don McCormick said that approximately one hundred people came through the open house, a good number for a summer evening.

“Those that came were really engaged,” he said. “They asked a lot of good quesitons.”

The City is looking for feedback on all three projects.

The first project, and the largest, is the replacement of the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Mayor and Council have been talking about a new facility for several years, as they are aware that the current facility is aging and it is becoming difficult to keep up with Interior Health regulations.

The current wastewater treatment plant was built in 1967 and upgraded in 1979. It is located near the St. Mary River in what is described as a vulnerable location due flooding and high groundwater. The plant also uses an outdate treatment process with minimal automation, redundancy, safeguards and capacity for future growth.

It has been described by the Ministry of Environment as the highest risk facility in the region. It is difficult to operate, creates nuisance noise and odour and sometimes cannot meet the required effluent criteria.

At a cost of an estimated $35 million to replace, this will be the largest project the city will tackle for many years, and the plan is to build an innovative Organica Food Chain Reactor plant, which combines living plants and fixed growth media (a woven textile) to achieve high treatment capacity in a small footprint. This will include a botanical greenhouse which the public can access to see the “treatment garden”.

“It’s very leading edge technology,” said McCormick. “That aspect and the fact that as a small community we are taking this on, will bode well for us with grants — a community taking on a large project in an innovative way.”

The process combines the roots of plants and the textile to create high biomass in aerated tanks.The textile retains biomass and the plant roots crate a complex environment that increases biodiversity in th tanks. This improves the treatment prices and reduces the amount of biosolids removed from the process. Solids are removed from the treated water by clarification and filtration creating a high-quality effluent that is suitable for many reuse applications.

The plant will be quieter than the current one, will emit less odour. The facility will resemble a botanical garden with an attached office/lab/processing building.

It will be located on higher ground in Marysville near Mark Creek, adjacent to existing walking trails.

At present the City has received funding through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund to pay for the design phase. This funding is 50 per cent federal, 33 per cent provincial and 17 per cent municipal. The actual construction is not funded but the City will pursue all future grant opportunities.

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